Sunday, September 14, 2008
Closer than You Think
I got into a conversation on a political discussion board with a guy who loves Republicans and hates Democrats. At one point I said:
I don't know why you persist in thinking the opposite of "Republican" is "Democrat."
It's kind of like thinking the opposite of "Coke" is "Pepsi."
Actually, the opposite of Coke AND Pepsi is clean water.
And the opposite of Republican and Democrat...I'll let you figure it out.
To which he replied:
That's because it WAS THE DEMOCRATIC LEANING INDEPENT people who reacted opposite of the Republican leaning independents.
I have no idea why I bother. I guess it meant something to him, though, and I guess everybody has to be somewhere.
At any rate, what I was driving at is that the opposite of Republican AND Democrat is something outside of, different from, and not kindly disposed toward our current political system. I'm talking about the whole political system -- Republicans and Democrats -- because the whole system is corrupted beyond redemption, and the government in Washington, no matter who's in control, has become a vast system of payoffs and patronage.
And here's something else: this dinosaur of a politico-economic-military system which rules us is closer to being overthrown than anyone realizes. For one thing, the system itself is very shaky. It's on the verge of insolvency, has an increasingly difficult time, in its swollen and bloated condition, just meeting day-to-day commitments, and is viewed by a growing majority of citizens with an active combination of contempt and hatred.
Plus, so many people are disgusted and angry with what's happened to them and to us as a country that it wouldn't take much for millions of them to take to the streets in our major cities. We might soon see a replay of the "velvet revolution" that exploded in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the late '80's and early '90's and brought down the so-called "Evil Empire." All it would take would be a combination of a couple of things occurring simultaneously, say five-dollar gas and 25 percent inflation per month for a couple of months running, for many, many people to simply stop going to work and get out in the street and raise hell.
We're talking people who have been foreclosed after a fast-talking salesman sold them an adjustable-rate mortgage loan on the assurance their property would appreciate in value forever, people who have had to declare bankruptcy because of debt caused by medical bills, people who have been laid off and can't find work because the job market has dried up, people who have jobs but have to ride the bus home standing up and pregnant, with swollen ankles, wondering how they're going to make this month's gas and electric and phone bills after the house payment, truck drivers who support families, and who are seeing their profits eaten up by five-buck diesel fuel, and people like me who are simply disgusted with the direction the country has taken and with this corrupt political system which has enabled capitalist gangsters to bring us to ruin.
I'm talking people whose real wages, on average, have shrunk by $1175 a year in 2007 dollars over the last seven years, while their household expenses have risen by $4665, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That would be all of us.
These are the kind of people who are potential revolutionaries, whether they're aware of it today or not.
We have no idea what, if anything, will follow the overthrow of this rotten politico-economic-military system which rules us now. It could be a type of authoritarianism worse than we have now. It could be better (a restoration of the Republic!). Or we could go through a difficult period of transition, followed by gradually improving economic and social conditions. However, irrespective of what's going to happen, take a long, honest look at the system and you'll see that it's so extremely rotten that, like the old Soviet Union, it won't take that much of a push to topple it over.
The government of Republicans and Democrats, the economy of chattering advertisers and slick salesmen, and the military empire of weapons contractors and Pentagon bases in other people's countries will come down like a rotten, waterlogged pier under the pressure of a couple of vigorous shoves, because the system has lost confidence in itself, and it's losing its nerve.
And Democrats are not the opposite of Republicans. They're just not fascists. That's about the nicest thing I can think of to say about them.